Amazon has hired a law firm to investigate claims of widespread gender discrimination in part of its cloud computing division, the company said in an email to employees late last week.
The investigation is a response to a petition filed by a group of employees in Amazon Web Services’ Professional Services group, known as ProServ, which helps companies adopt cloud computing. In the petition, the employees alleged gender bias and bullying in the department. The Washington Post, which first reported the investigation, said more than 550 employees had signed the petition.
Adam Selipsky, the new chief executive of AWS, responded with the email, which was addressed to the leaders of the petition.
“We have retained an outside firm to investigate and understand any inappropriate conduct that you or others may have experienced or witnessed,” he wrote. “This firm is experienced and objective, and I personally will review their independent findings, which will help guide any further actions.”
Amazon has been hiring heavily in AWS, which is the largest provider of cloud computing. The industry has largely been dominated by men. About 23 percent of Amazon’s senior leaders are female, company data show.
In May, five women, including one who worked in ProServ, sued the company, accusing it of various forms of racial and gender discrimination, claims the company has denied.